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Save the Date for National Eye Health Week 2021

Eye Health UK today (25 February 2021) announced National Eye Health Week 2021 (NEHW) will run from 20 to 26 September.

The Week will aim to raise the profile of optics as it encourages the public to be ‘eye aware’ with a series of initiatives inspiring greater up-take of routine sight tests and highlighting the role healthy lifestyles play in preventing avoidable sight loss.

Despite the obvious challenges of 2020, last year’s campaign raised optics up the public health agenda with Google searches around ‘eye health’ peaking during the Week – up more than 20 per cent on the next highest point in the year.

NEHW 2020 was also effective in motivating behaviour change. According to independent consumer research, three quarters (74%) of those who saw, heard or read advice about eye health during the Week said it had prompted them to act when it comes to looking after their vision and eye health.[1]

David Cartwright, chair of Eye Health UK said: “National Eye Health Week is an important occasion for optics and has huge potential for the sector to come together to create a premier health event. We’re urging everyone with an interest in vision and eye health to get involved. The Week is a great platform for public health promotion that can benefit us all.”

Anyone interested in getting involved can register via the website. Supporters are kept up to date with regular bulletins to their inbox and free supporter resources.

The charity is also looking for strategic partners to help expand its range of health promotion resources and turn up the volume on generic eye health messages across traditional and social media.

Email us to find out more about official partner opportunities.

[1] Yonder UK Representative Consumer Survery.2000 online sample of GB adults 18+. Conducted between 29 & 30 September 2020


Published: 25 February 2021

See the Benefits of Making a New Year's Resolution

Not only can resolving to eat more healthily, take regular exercise, quit smoking or reduce your alcohol consumption help you look great and feel fitter it could also help you see better!

Simply making the right lifestyle choices can help preserve your vision and reduce your risk of developing a sight-threatening eye disease.

Eating a healthy diet can reduce your risk of suffering from many age-related eye conditions. Fruit and vegetables are packed full of vitamins and antioxidants, which can protect against conditions such as macular degeneration – the UK’s leading cause of blindness. Whilst, cold-water fish such as sardines, mackerel or tuna are all excellent sources of DHA and Omega-3 fatty acids, which can help in the treatment of dry eye and are also beneficial for general sight preservation.

Regular exercise can reduce your risk of degenerative eye conditions. Research* shows that people with an active lifestyle are 70 per cent less likely to develop age-related macular degeneration than those leading a sedentary lifestyle.

Aerobic exercise can also increase crucial oxygen supplies to the optic nerve. This can reduce intraocular ‘eye’ pressure and help control conditions such as glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.

Drinking too much alcohol interferes with your liver functions, which in turn, can reduce your levels of glutathione – an efficient antioxidant that can help protect against common eye diseases.

You could also dramatically reduce your risk of age-related sight loss and poor eye health if your New Year’s Resolution is to quit smoking. Tobacco chemicals damage the blood vessels behind the eye, increasing your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration. Smoking is also associated with other eye diseases such as cataracts.



* British Journal of Ophthalmology, October 2006.


Published : 31 December 2020

NEHW 2020 In Numbers

NEHW 2020 In numbers



Published:  November 2020

NEHW 2020 Supporter Thank You

Road Safety Week 16 - 22 November 2020

Eyesight is a key factor in road safety, but one that is often ignored. Visual acuity, field of vision, night vision, contrast sensitivity and other visual functions can all compromise safe driving.

We estimate there are nine million drivers on the Britain’s roads with vision that falls below the legal standards of vision for driving [1]. More than 90% of information a driver uses is visual so ensuring your eyesight is up to scratch is crucial. Research [2] shows drivers with vision that falls below the legal standards struggle to stay in lane, read road signs or keep a consistent speed. Poor eyesight also hampers your ability to react to unexpected hazards.

Road crashes involving a driver with poor vision are estimated to cause 2,900 casualties and cost £33 million in the UK per year [3].

Having regular sight tests – once every two year’s unless advised otherwise by your optometrist – and wearing your prescription eyewear every time you get behind the wheel is essential to improve road safety and reduce the risk of injury to you and other road users.

Take a look at our Clear Vision, Safe Driving leaflet for info on how to keep your vision roadworthy.


[1] Based on roadside checks data collected by the charity in conjuntion with West Mercia Police

[2] Fit to Drive driving simulator assessment conducted at Brunel University

[3] Fit to Drive: a cost benefit analysis of more frequent eyesight testing for UK drivers, RSA Insurance Group plc, overview available on the Road Safety Observatory

Eye Health Advice in 30+ Languages

We've been working with the team at COVID -19 Infographics to produce a series of posters deigned to share important eye care advice to BAME audiences. There will be four posters / infographics in the series:

Eye health during COVID-19
Eye test mythbusters
Eye health awareness parts 1 & 2

Translated into 30 plus languages including Hindi, Arabic and Polish.

Click the poster below for more information...



Published: 23 September 2020

Low Autumn Sun Spells Danger For Eye Health

Unprotected exposure to Autumn sunshine can put you at increased risk of suffering common sight-threatening eye conditions such as cataract and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) .


As the sun crosses the celestial equator on the Autumn Equinox (September 22 2020 14:30 GMT) the highest point on its trajectory reduces to just 40-degrees. David Cartwright chairman of National Eye Health Week explains: “When the sun is high in the sky our brow bone acts like a built in sun shade and prevents damaging UV light entering the eye. When the sun is low in the sky during Autumn months the total amount of UV radiation your eyes are exposed to dramatically increases.”


Cumulative UV exposure has been found to promote the onset of cataract[1] and has been implicated in the development of a range of other eye conditions including photokeratitis, pterygium and macular degeneration – the UK’s leading cause of blindness.[2]


One simple way you can tell if your eyes are in danger of UV damage is to look at your shadow. If your shadow is shorter than you, you should protect your eyes using a hat, sunglasses or UV protective lenses.


You should also protect your eyes whenever the UV Index rises to three or more. For the latest UV forecast visit the Met Office website


[1] Linetsky M, Raghavan CT et al. "UVA light-excited kynurenines oxidize ascorbate and modify lens proteins through the formation of advanced glycation end products: implications for human lens aging and cataract formation." Journal of Biological Chemistry, May 2014. DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M114.554410

[2] UV and the eye, review of the latest research, Professor James Wolffsohn, Aston University, 2012


Published: 22 September 2020


Ten Best Habits for Healthy Eyes

Lifestyle counts when it comes to looking after your eyes. Here, David Cartwright, optometrist and chairman of Eye Health UK shares his ten top tips to help you keep your eyes and vision healthy.

1. Be eye aware. Call your local optician if you notice a change in your vision or have any concerns about your eye health. The optometrist can assess your symptoms and advise on next steps.

2. Eat right for good sight. Eating a diet rich in fruit and vegetables, fish, nuts and oils can all help protect your sight.

3. Watch your weight. Maintaining a healthy weight can help protect against conditions such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) – the UK’s leading cause of sight loss and glaucoma. The NHS Better Health campaign has lots of helpful advice and tips if you are trying to lose weight.

4. Be active. Being physically active has been shown to reduce your risk of visual impairment by 58 per cent versus somebody with a sedentary lifestyle.

5. Quit smoking. Smokers are up to four times more likely to lose their sight than someone who has never smoked.

For help to quit smoking visit: nhs.uk/smokefree

6. Cover up. Slip on a pair of sunglasses whenever the UV Index rises to three or more to minimise your risk of developing conditions such as cataracts and macular degeneration

Look out for a CE or British Standard or UV 400 mark to ensure your shades provide adequate UV protection.

7. Go outdoors. Spending time outdoors can give your eyes a boost and actually reduce your risk of short-sightedness (myopia). Two hours outdoor play is thought to be beneficial for children.

8. Be screen smart. A staggering 90 per cent of us say we experience screen fatigue – tired or irritated eyes, blurred vision, headaches and poor colour perception.

Avoid eye strain by following the 20-20-20 rule, especially if you’re using a computer for long periods of time. Look 20 feet in front of you every 20 minutes for 20 seconds.

9. Wear Safety Glasses. Every year in the UK 30,000 people suffer a DIY-related injury. Always wear good quality safety glasses when doing jobs around the house.

10. Make-up Bag Makeover. Germs can build up on your make-up palettes and brushes and cause eye infections and irritation. Make sure your regularly wash all brushes and sponges and adhere to the ‘period after opening’ (POA) time on your cosmetic products.


Published: 20 September 2020

National Eye Health Week 2020

As plans for the UK’s biggest promotion of vision and eye health are announced organisers are urging the optical profession to get involved in National Eye Health Week and use it as a platform to promote the vital role that eyecare practitioners play in keeping Britain healthy.

The Week, which runs 21 September – 27 September 2020, aims to remind the public why their vision matters and encourage everyone be ‘eye aware’. Central to this will be a call to action to contact your local optical practice if you notice a change to your vision or have any concerns about your eye health.

David Cartwright, chair of Eye Health UK, the charity responsible for organising the National Eye Health Week (NEHW) campaign explains: “NEHW provides a unique opportunity for everyone involved in optics to join forces and inspire people to take positive steps to keep their eyes and vision healthy as well as preventing avoidable sight loss.

Delays in people seeking treatment during lockdown and reduced capacity in optical practice mean it’s important that those with greatest need are prioritised. This year’s National Eye Health Week will seek to mobilise those that are experiencing problems with their vision or eye health and encourage them to seek help from their local eye care practitioner.”

The Week will also offer advice about looking after your eyes and share 10 Best Eye Health Habits. These include: eating a healthy, balanced diet, not smoking, watching your weight and wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV damage.

Each day of the Week will feature a different theme. Themes for 2020 include: Ageing eyes, screen use and kids’ eye health.

David continues: “Focusing on a different daily theme gives us a chance to keep refreshing our communications and reach out to some of those groups most at risk of avoidable sight loss.”

Activity to support the Week will include a podcast, new online eye health calculator and vision simulator.  

The charity will also be publishing a comprehensive supporter resource pack featuring posters, leaflets, infographics and social media assets will be available to download from the Vision Matters website from early September.

Supporters will also be encouraged to get involved in the NEHW Social Distancing Challenge and wear T-shirts that prompt people to book an eye test if they can’t read text equivalent to 6/12 when standing two metres away.

The charity will also be running a high-profile media campaign incorporating eye health supplements in leading national newspapers and publish of a digital edition of Vista, the Week’s official magazine.

David explains: “Vista magazine is a unique publication that uses lifestyle themes to communicate important eye health advice in an engaging and accessible way.”

To get involved visit our electronic resource centre for more info.


Published: 3 September 2020

Top tips to avoid foggy glasses when wearing a face mask


Hot breath escaping from the top of a face mask[1] can cause your spectacles or sunglasses to steam up, making it difficult to see clearly.


So, following the government’s advice that we should wear face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (eg: in some shops), Eye Health UK has compiled these six top tips to help Britain’s 30 Million + spectacle wearers beat the fog!


1.    Keep your lenses clean

Cleaning your lenses with your regular spectacle lens cleaning solution creates a thin film on the surface of the lens that can disperse fine water molecules in your breath and help prevent the lens misting up.


If you don’t have any lens cleaner to hand, try washing your lenses in warm soapy water.


Carefully wash your spectacles or sunglasses in soapy water – washing-up liquid works well – shake off any excess water and leave to air dry (or gently dry with a soft cloth).


Never use a paper towel or your sleeve to dry your lenses and avoid abrasive cleaners.


2.    Apply anti-fog lens coatings or sprays

Your dispensing optician can provide remote (telephone / email or video conference) advice on anti-fog lens coating or off-the-shelf anti-fog spray, waxes or gels that are available to order online.


3.    Seal it up

Use double-sided sticky tape to ensure your mask fits snuggly across the bridge of your nose and check bones. This is not recommended for extended wear.


4.    A good fit

A well fitted mask will dramatically reduce the amount of air escaping. Masks with a mouldable frame can help you achieve a good fit.


If you’re wearing a home-made mask, try sewing a channel along the top edge of the mask and inserting a pipe cleaner (or similar) so you can shape the fit around your facial features.


5.    Double strap tying technique

A trick used by hospital surgeons is to tie the top straps of a surgical mask firmly below the ears before tying the bottom straps above the ears around the crown of the head. This forms a snug fit across your nose and checks and vents air from the side of the mask.[2]


6.    Breath in a downwards direction

As a temporary fix you can try breathing downwards so the air you breathe out flows away from your glasses.


Technique: Hold your upper lip over your lower lip. Then blow air downward, as if you’re playing a flute.


Remember – always fit your mask to your face, not to the frames of your glasses!


[1] According to a study published in The Annals of The Royal College of Surgeons of England, a face mask directs much of the exhaled air upward.

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4474252/


Published 13 May 2020